The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Director Revealed A Katniss Everdeen Easter Egg In The Prequel, And It’s Too Perfect

 Rachel Zegler and Jennifer Lawrence side by side.
Rachel Zegler and Jennifer Lawrence side by side.

Katniss Everdeen’s Hunger Games story may have come to a close with 2015’s Mockingjay Part 2 ending, but the world of Panem will return in the upcoming prequel film The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It’s one of the most highly-anticipated upcoming book adaptations of the year and, yes, there are some clever references to the Girl on Fire that fans should look out for. The prequel's director, Francis Lawrence, just pointed out how one particular Easter egg came together, and it’s an incredible callback to the original movies.

Before helming this latest feature, which takes place sixty years prior to Katniss Everdeen volunteering as tribute, Francis Lawrence served as the director behind Catching Fire and both Mockingjay movies. So you can say he knows a little something about how to make a Hunger Games film. After eagle-eyed fans pointed what looked like a cool nod in the first Songbirds and Snakes trailer, Lawrence confirmed the Easter egg and shared more context on connecting the two District 12 tributes.

What Is The Katniss Everdeen Easter Egg In The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes?

In the marketing for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, some fans of the original movies have noticed Rachel Zegler’s Lucy Gray Baird does a curtsy that is very reminiscent of what Katniss Everdeen does during a training session for the gory televised event. Doesn’t this look familiar?

Rachel Zegler bowing in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Rachel Zegler bowing in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Francis Lawrence told Entertainment Tonight how the callback came about. In his words:

It was something that I made up on the day and had Rachel do, because we're constantly looking for, in the making of this, little sort of Easter eggs that would excite the fans. I thought, wow, this is really cool. If she does this then, you know, Katniss could have heard generations later about this kind of rebellious, irreverent act of this woman that was a singer and did this sort of bow curtsy at the reaping. It just gives a different sort of meaning to Katniss' action, and I think that it's a really fun element of this movie, to get lots of those moments.

Of course, Lucy Gray Baird wouldn’t know Katniss Everdeen, since she hadn’t been born yet. However, Everdeen might've learned about Lucy, and (retroactively) there's a chance the Girl on Fire was even honoring Baird by doing so. Whether that's definitely canon is uncertain, but the idea makes this scene from the first Hunger Games movie hit different. Check out the moment the filmmaker is referring to:

What a great scene! This moment really helped show off Katniss' skills ahead of the games, and it might be even cooler if she was indeed referencing a prior tribute.

What Other Katniss Everdeen Connections Are In The Prequel?

In addition to this great easter egg, there are more callbacks to the protagonist of the original movie. For example, in the latest trailer, Lucy sings “The Hanging Tree,” which Katniss sung during the games, too. Apparently, her knowledge of the song will be connected to the events of the prequel, specifically how Lucy makes history. Francis Lawrence also suggested Lucy’s cousin Maude Ivory may be related to Katniss Everdeen! I'm loving all of the connective tissue here, and I'm hopeful there will be more explicit reveals in the actual movie.

Although Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss is not in the prequel, you'll still want to check out The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes when it opens in theaters on November 17. And be sure you're in the know when it comes to other entries on the schedule of 2023 new movie releases.